Summary: Anakin returns to the Light on the landing platform. As the Jedi struggle to survive and the Rebellion is quietly begun, how will Anakin balance his prophesied destiny against his family? And more importantly how will he protect them from Palpatine?
Disclaimer: I own nothing. No copyright infringement is intended. Just a harmless piece of fun, but please don't reproduce this without asking me first!
Author Note: Yes, I know, this particular scene from Revenge of the Sith has been rewritten ad nauseam, but I couldn't really resist doing my own, and it just kind of grew from there. I hope you like it.
I now have a volunteer beta for this story, Ten no Kasou. Many thanks to him/her. Between us, I hope we can turn this into a story that is a cut above the average rewrite of the platform scene.
"Destroy the Sith we must."
Yoda's words echoed in his head, but he was slow to grasp their meaning. He protested against going after Anakin, insisting he could not kill him.
"He is like my brother. I cannot do it."
Yoda, however, was immovable once he reached a decision. He insisted that the Force would guide Obi-Wan, and so it had, leading him to Padmé, who had told him nothing herself, but who had immediately run to Anakin herself to seek the truth of the accusations Obi-Wan had made. Stowing away on her ship was ridiculously easy for him for. Sshe had eschewed all security for the trip to Mustafar, taking only Threepio with her.
Watching her confront Anakin was probably the most painful thing he had ever done in his life up to that point. For their conversation revealed just how far he had fallen. More than the words, the tone Anakin was using, one of dismissal and unimportance, to one whom he claimed to love, told Obi-Wan that Anakin no longer cared for anyone. How wrong he had been to think that. Then Anakin saw him standing there on the ship's ramp, and like a fire instantly ignited, rage rose up to replace indifference. He did not even look at her as he began crushing her throat. Instead he glared with consuming hatred at Obi-Wan, reached his fist out towards him. But it was Padmé who choked, Padmé who nearly died. In the madness of anger Anakin had thought he was killing his master. He had admitted that not long after. Obi-Wan wondered if that should have hurt him, that his surrogate brother had wanted to kill him. But by the time Anakin had admitted it they had been through so much, were so much closer, that it had meant nothing to him. Those thoughts had belonged to Darth Vader, to a man that no longer existed.
"Let her go Anakin!"
Perhaps it was the strong tone of his voice where Anakin had expected only choking sounds. Perhaps it was his use of the word "her". Whatever the reason, his command brought Anakin's attention to the fact that it was not Obi-Wan, but Padmé who was choking on the verge of death. For one terrible moment he just stood there watching as his wife choked and spluttered in his insubstantial grip pleading with him with her eyes. And in that moment Obi-Wan's heart filled with the knowledge of what he must do. He had fallen, Obi-Wan was certain of it, and now it was Obi-Wan's duty to kill his best friend for the good of the galaxy. He felt no anger, only sadness at the thought. Then, as quickly as Anakin's indifference had turned to rage at the sight of Obi-Wan, rage turned to horror at the sight of Padmé choking in his grip. In an instant he let her go, and then caught her at once in his arms as she swayed and fell.
The entire sequence of events had lasted perhaps three or four minutes from the start of Anakin and Padmé's conversation to the point where Anakin had released her from his choking grip. But those three or four minutes had lasted several lifetimes for Obi-Wan. He had seen so much, thought so much in that short space of time that it defied belief. He had seen the impossible twice. He had witnessed his best friend, the greatest Jedi Knight in the Order, perhaps the greatest in all the history of the Order as a pawn of the Sith, a monster twisted by the Dark Side. Then he had watched as the one thing that the Order had unequivocally forbidden him, the one thing that they in all their wisdom had said no Jedi could risk having because it might bring them nearer the Dark Side, had been the thing to bring his friend's mind and soul back towards the Light.
Then Anakin too collapsed. Obi-Wan had feared then that something had happened to his friend. Some unseen attack, perhaps from Palpatine, to destroy Anakin rather than see him returned to the ranks of the Jedi. But hurrying over he was relieved to find Anakin still most definitely alive, though clearly distraught, sobbing over his wife's unconscious body. Crouching down he reached out with the Force, checking Padmé's condition. Her life force remained strong and bright, somewhat diminished by her recent ordeals, both physical and emotional, at the hands of her husband, but not in any danger of fading at that point. But his probing through the Force brought Anakin's attention back to him. Anakin looked up at him, and he looked into the shredded soul of a man who knew that he had done terrible things, things that should condemn him to death and eternal torment.
"Help her, master. Save her."
He could never forget the tone in which Anakin said those words. Never before had he heard Anakin speak in such a desolate tone of pleading, as if asking for something he knew he had no right to, and never again after his recovery had Anakin used it. He sought to reassure Anakin.
"She is safe, Anakin."
But Anakin was not satisfied by his reassurances.
"Protect her, master. Please…promise me you'll protect her."
In the face of such pleading, especially from Anakin for Padmé's safety, he could not have not consented.
"I will make sure she is safe, Anakin. Now come, we must leave this place."
He gathered Padmé up in his arms and started towards the ship, assuming that Anakin would follow. But then behind him he heard the tell-tale sound of a lightsaber igniting. Whirling he set himself as best he could to dodge an attack, still clutching Padmé in his arms. But Anakin was still kneeling, almost half a dozen feet away, just staring at his bright blue blade. Still wary, he set Padmé down on the ground and took out his own lightsaber, but left it unlit. For long moments they remained like that, he watching Anakin and Anakin watching his lightsaber. Then without warning Anakin swung his lightsaber towards his own neck. Too far away to intervene physically, he did the only thing he could do: used the Force to alter the path of Anakin's blade ever so slightly so that it missed him. Then he leapt to interpose his own blade between Anakin and his blade.
It was ironic, perhaps, that he had come expecting a lightsaber duel. He had now gotten one, but not in the way he had imagined. He had come prepared to defend his own life and end Anakin's if necessary. Now he was fighting to save Anakin's life from Anakin himself. It was proving to be much more difficult to do than it would have been to simply try to take Anakin's life. For one thing he could not just worry about Anakin's blade, he had to worry about his own, for either would end Anakin's life just as easily. For another thing his old apprentice was a skilled swordsman, and he was hard pressed to keep up with Anakin's attempts on his own life. It was a heated battle, and once or twice he had to prevent Anakin from ending his own life in other ways, such as trying to jump off the landing platform and into the lava flows far below. But in the end he managed to take Anakin's lightsaber away from him, and at that point all the fight left Anakin. He simply collapsed into wracking sobbing on the ground.
They had to leave, however, for he was sure that Anakin's fall back to the Light would not go unnoticed by Palpatine. They had to get away from here before he came to reclaim his apprentice. So he was not able to leave Anakin to his grief. Instead he walked over and helped Anakin to his feet. The young Jedi would not meet his eyes, but instead looked studiously at his own boots, tears dripping off his face at a steady rate. It shook him deeply. He had expected many things of his old padawan, but attempted suicide was not one of them. With the young Jedi leaning on his shoulder, he picked up Padmé and guided Anakin to the ship. Knowing that he would have to keep an eye on Anakin for the moment, and that he could not take any chances, he laid Padmé out on a bed in one of the cabins. Then he went around the ship, with Anakin still leaning on his shoulder, and collected up all the weapons on the ship. Blasters, vibroblades, even kitchen knives and one or two ornaments with points or sharp edges all got hastily swept up and he carried them out of the ship and tossed them all off the edge of the landing platform. To the falling stream of objects he added Anakin's lightsaber, then with some regret he took out his own and dropped it as well.
A Jedi's lightsaber is his life, you must not lose it.
How many times had he admonished Anakin in such a way when he had lost his lightsaber? If Anakin became lucid he would tell him about this, and Anakin would never let him forget it. Better, he decided, than the alternative of Anakin killing himself with his lightsaber. Then he had walked back to the ship, still supporting Anakin, who had given up crying and was now staring at nothing in particular, the blank look in his eyes proclaiming his lack of anything resembling his normal personality or even his darker side. He strapped Anakin into the co-pilot's chair then sat in the pilot's chair and took off, heading out of the atmosphere and towards space.
After they had safely made the jump to hyperspace he got up and went over to Anakin, to try and shake him out of whatever state he was in. But one look at Anakin's closed eyes and a quick check through the Force told him that Anakin was sleeping soundly, so he went back to check on Padmé. Unlike Anakin, she was awake and sitting up on her bed.
"Is it done, Obi-Wan?" she asked tremulously, "Did you do it?"
"I did nothing" he said, calmly, "There was no need."
"What do you mean? Is he dead?"
"On the contrary, Padmé, he is in the cockpit, sleeping."
"What?!" she shrieked, shrinking against the wall of the cabin that the bed was placed up against, "How could you, Obi-Wan? I thought you said he turned to the Dark Side! And from what I saw down there it looks like you were right!"
"Yes," he conceded, "I was right. But," he continued holding up his hand as she showed every sign of wanting to interrupt, "You did what I would have thought impossible. You brought him back to us."
"I did?" she seemed surprised by this fact which now seemed so obvious to him.
"I will explain as best I can Padmé," he said.
She inclined her head in acknowledgement and as a gesture for him to go on.
"Anakin loves you Padmé, more than anything else in the galaxy. He would do anything for you, absolutely anything. He turned to the Sith because he thought that only with Sith powers could he prevent something terrible happening to you. That much was clear from your conversation. I think that it was the fact that it was you who was being hurt by his dark powers is what made him see that it was not the right path. He cannot bear anything that hurts you, as I think you know. He would rather die than see you harmed in any way. So seeing that the Dark Side hurt you, he turned away from it. But at the same time he believes he needs the power of the Dark Side to save you. I have felt the confusion that this is causing him. It is also clear that he feels great remorse for having hurt you. After you fell into unconsciousness he made me promise to protect you and then tried to take his own life. He was most…determined, about it. We are lucky that he is still alive at all."
"He tried to…" she trailed off.
"Yes," he confirmed.
"Oh, Obi-Wan. What are we going to do?"
"I have rid us of all possible weapons Anakin might use in another attempt on his own life. Other than that the only thing we can do is be there for him, until we reach Master Yoda. He may have a solution where we do not."
Whatever his personal feelings about their union, he had to admit that Padmé was probably the best way to stop Anakin from killing himself, at least until they and Master Yoda could find some way to end his wish for death. They needed him now more than ever. Who knew how many Jedi were left after the clone troopers' betrayal? They needed every one left. Padmé was his strongest reason for living now. But once they returned to Master Yoda, Obi-Wan hoped that together they would be able to make him see that continuing the Jedi Order and defeating Palpatine were at least equally good reasons to keep living. He rose to return to the cockpit, leaving Anakin alone was not wise, given his current state of mind. Padmé rose with him. As they returned to the cockpit she said hesitantly:
"Obi-Wan I wish we had told you before, about us I mean. If we had then this might not have happened."
"In some ways I too wish you had told me before Padmé," he replied gently, "But remember that if you had Anakin would have been expelled from the Jedi Order unless he divorced you. You know, I think, that he would certainly have chosen you over the Order in the end. And then where would we have been? His feats and the positive image he gave for the Jedi may have done more for us than we will ever know or appreciate."
"Perhaps," she said, now looking at him steadily, "But I wish we had trusted you with it."
He did not want to say anything about it now. But to some extent he was glad that they had chosen to keep it a secret between them. Choosing between Anakin and his loyalty to the principles of the Order would have made all the missions he had been on in the Clone Wars seem simple by comparison.
They got to the cockpit and found Anakin still sleeping. Obi-Wan settled into the pilot's chair while Padmé crouched down beside the co-pilot's chair, a decidedly awkward position given her condition, and looked into the face of her sleeping husband. He concentrated on the navigation console, looking over the course the navi-computer had calculatede various legs of their journey. Their destination was an outlying system and the known hyperspace routes to it were few. There would be some cruising at sub-light to cross uninhabited systems, but the journey would only take them a day or even though the system was not far they would not be there until late the next morning.
His attention was pulled away from the navigation console by a sudden surge in Anakin's presence. He was waking up. He got up and went to stand behind Anakin's chair. Suddenly Anakin's eyes blinked open and he looked around in confusion. At first he did not seem to know where he was. But then his eyes alighted on Padmé. The rush of pain and remorse that pulsed out from Anakin then was almost like a physical blow to him, and Obi-Wanhe had to put a hand on the chair to steady himself.
"Padmé?" Anakin whispered, one hand going out to touch her face. His eyes filled with tears. "Oh Padmé, I'm so sorry. Sorry for everything. Please believe me."
"Shh," she soothed, taking his hand in hers and then pulling him into an embrace, "Hush, my love. It's over now. I'm alright. We're both safe now, and that's what matters."
They remained like that for some time. At last, however, Anakin pushed her away gently. He could not see Anakin's face, but his tone said much, and the Force even more, about how he felt.
"I cannot," he said in a hoarse voice, "What I did, it cannot be so easily put aside. You don't know, Padmé, the things that I did."
"It doesn't matter," she said, "You weren't yourself. You were under the influence of the Dark Side."
"No!" he said, forcefully, "It's not like that. You don't understand. The Dark Side is powerful yes, but it's a choice. I have to leave. I'm too dangerous to be around. What if I slip back, make the same choice again?"
Obi-Wan could not hold his silence any more. This was something that Padmé could not argue about. She did not know enough to argue this point with Anakin.
"You are no more likely to do so than I am, Anakin."
He was surprised by Anakin's surprise at his presence. Apparently Anakin had not felt him there, which was odd given his attunement to the Force. Nevertheless the surprised expression on Anakin's face as he turned to face his old master matched his feelings in the Force. Was Anakin drawing away from the Force, he asked himself. It was understandable, given his condition and the things he had done, but it was something that they could not afford now. Anakin was needed as the powerful Jedi that he was, not as a man who refused to use the Force, and certainly not as the exile he was suggesting he ought to be. But how to make him see that?
"You're wrong," Anakin whispered, "You don't know what it's like."
"Perhaps not," he agreed, "But I believe in you Anakin. I trust you not to make the same mistake twice."
"How?" he croaked back, "How can you possibly trust me like that? Especially after what I did."
"Am I lying then?," Obi-Wan asked, spreading his hands, "You would feel it if I was, Anakin. Do I lie?"
Anakin's eyes narrowed.
"I know what you're trying to do, Master," he said in a low voice, "It won't work. I can't be trusted with the Force anymore."
Obi-Wan lifted one eyebrow.
"Can't be trusted? By whom? I trust you with the Force. Padmé trusts you with it. Only you do not trust yourself with it. Overconfidence can be a weakness, Anakin, I have told you that many times. But lack of confidence can be just as damaging. Perhaps even more so."
"How could my not using the Force be more damaging than my returning to the Dark Side?"
Obi-Wan was glad that Anakin was challenging him. Before it was exasperating, especially when he had been a padawan. Then, he had needed a reason for everything and he was forever trying to make out that his ways were better than anything Obi-Wan or a thousand generations of Jedi could come up with; a fact that had often had Obi-Wan frustrated with his padawan's lack of acceptance. Now however, it was a good thing. If he was challenging Obi-Wan then he was thinking rationally, as opposed to having reason overwhelmed by his guilt.
"Consider, Anakin, all the good you could do that would be lost if you gave up using the Force. Consider also that there are, including you, only three Jedi that we know about surviving in the galaxy. For all we know we may be the last. And so it will be up to us to re-establish the Order. Finally consider the fact that you are the Chosen One. It is still your destiny to destroy the Sith and return balance to the Force. You cannot hide from your destiny, the Force will not let you."
It seemed Anakin had no reply to that, so he said nothing for several moments. Then at last he spoke again, trying to lighten the mood.
"Besides, my old padawan, the life of an exile would be profoundly…boring, for you."
Anakin smiled, wanly, but it was better than nothing. Obi-Wan remembered fondly now all the times that Anakin had proclaimed himself bored. Usually he had chosen the most inconvenient times to do so, such as when Obi-Wan was meditating, or during long flights through hyperspace. Usually his boredom had been cured by an exasperated Obi-Wan by some small chore or other. But despite this he had used the comment often, and filed it away as a way of distracting Obi-Wan, and then proceeded to pull it out at other highly inconvenient times, such as in the middle of lightsaber sparring matches, when concentration was needed. Over the years it had become an inside joke between them, one that was still good for a smile or a small chuckle occasionally. And now it seemed that smiles and small chuckles were the best way to occupy Anakin. So Obi-Wan proceeded to provide them, in the form of small but amusing stories about things he and Anakin had done together, first as master and apprentice, then as two fellow Jedi Knights, then finally as Master and Knight. Padmé proved a good audience as he recounted, and soon Anakin was chiming in with his additions to the stories. Together they smiled and laughed at the various scrapes and awkward situations that he and Anakin had gotten themselves into over the years.
It was late in the night according to the ship's clock when they finally stopped. Anakin was still laughing at the story of the time he had accidentally wandered into the streets of Coruscant near the Jedi Temple and found a number of highly interesting droids abandoned in an alley. He had reactivated the droids and led them back to the Temple. Little had he realised that the droids in question were old model assassin droids, and he had set off a major alert that had caused several Jedi Masters to rush to the front gate to defend against an invasion by Anakin, who had been all of eleven at the time, and his escort of assassin droids. He had simply wandered up to the main gate and blithely asked one of the masters, a female Duros whose name escaped Obi-Wan now, whether he could come in now, completely ignoring her humming lightsaber and the lightsabers of the other Jedi Masters. Then it had been yet another episode in the long string of calamities that Anakin had caused at the Temple through a combination of his wanderlust and his penchant for being able to slip out of the Temple even after he had been denied clearance to leave through the gates, and Obi-Wan had spent a good half hour explaining to the Council that he had not known anything about this, had certainly not encouraged it and would certainly have stopped his padawan if he could find out how in the name of the Force he managed to leave the Temple without passing through any of the gates. Anakin never had told him the secret of how he had managed to get out of the Temple so easily and often. At last the laughter faded and Anakin looked at him, amusement still shining in his bright blue eyes, which were now tinged with only a hint of yellow at the edges. He had wanted to ask Anakin about the odd colouring of his eyes before, but for now he did not want to bring up painful subjects again. For now it was enough to see Anakin laughing and smiling as though nothing had happened at all. Eventually they would have to come back to the trouble filled galaxy they had left behind briefly. But for now he wanted Anakin to find some peace in the love of his wife and his best friend. Anakin looked down at Padmé, who was now sleeping quietly. Looking at his master, Anakin grinned slightly and put a finger to his lips. Then he gathered Padmé up in his arms and carried her off to one of the cabins. Obi-Wan watched Anakin step inside and close the door behind him with the Force. Then he decided that it was a good idea and took the other cabin for himself.
He took off his over-robe, his boots and his over-tunic. Then he lay down on the bed. But sleep did not come at once, so he lay awake and thought of what had happened and what lay ahead. He considered Anakin's fall and return. He sensed that Anakin had rejected the Dark Side. But he still had no knowledge of why Anakin had chosen that path in the first place, and without such knowledge he could not be certain that Anakin would not fall again. He had told Anakin that he trusted him. And that was true, he did trust him not to fall. But he also realised that his trust was not the same as his certainty. He also considered Anakin himself. Considering that not so many hours ago he had been distraught to the point of suicide, he had recovered remarkably well. But Anakin was adept at hiding his feelings, both from himself and others. He would still bear close watching for some time. But did they have time to be sure of Anakin's recovery? Removing Palpatine was necessary, before his hold on absolute power became too great to dislodge him. And they would certainly need Anakin for that. It was his destiny to destroy the Sith, so logically they could not succeed without him. Unless there was yet another Sith Lord out there, but that was a very remote possibility. In the end, he supposed, they could only take the next day as it came. The future was not in their hands, but in the hands of all, and thus in the hands of the Force. The only thing they could do was trust in it. With that thought sleep claimed him.
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